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Sandra Day O'Connor Education. (2013) 'Out of Order Stories From the History of Our Supreme Court.' New.




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  CSPAN    Book TV    Sandra Day O'Connor  Education.  (2013) 'Out of Order  
   Stories From the History of Our Supreme Court.' New.  

    March 23, 2013
    11:00 - 12:00am EDT  

[no audio] [applause] i thank you. said down. can you hear? is it alright?
no? no. does this have to be turned on? right into it? o dear. can you hear better no? i actually did not get an offer for my first job was to the introduction changed. [laughter] i happily attended stanford law school but in the process i met my husband to be john o'connor and he was a year behind me in moscow and we decided to get married and i graduated you both like to eat that met one of us would have to work and that was me. i thought no problem there were at least 40 notices from law firms and california saying law
graduates we would be happy to talk to about job opportunities. give us a call. there were 40 different messages. i would call every month not a single one would even give me an interview. why? because we don't hire women. that was the way it was. i got out about 1952 but isn't that amazing? they wouldn't even talk and i really did need to get a job. [laughter] i heard the county attorney from redwood city once had a woman lawyer on the staff and i thought that was encouraging.
unaided appointment. in california they elect the county attorney. so he gave me an appointment he was very ninth set -- nice and agreeable and did say he had a woman on his staff and she did well and he would be happy to have another. i had a good resonate and i would be fine but he got his money from the county board of supervisors and only got so much money per year and he had spent his money and he had no more money for the year and could not hire anybody else. he was so sorry because he thought i could be but not without money. and he said i will show you around the office and he said you can see i don't have a vacant office. so i said i enter stand.
i know you don't have any money right now but i will work for nothing until such time as a supervisor's give you more money. i will do that. that took his breath away then i said i net your secretary. she is very nice there is room in her office to put a second desk if she would not object and that was my first job. no pay and i put my desk with the secretary but i love my job. it was so interesting. everything and got to do was exciting so that is what i did. i don't remember now how long i was there before he managed to find some money with the county i think one
of the deputies must have left for another job that opened an office but it was tough sledding getting the first job. i felt sorry for the other women who were in law school looking for work because there was no real opportunity for women lawyers at that time. the new book that is out by hugh? [laughter] i have been reading that. [laughter] it is a good story better read it but it is amazing how things have changed and i am glad i was able to be a little bit of that changed in america for women.
i was working happily in my job in arizona i was a judge on the court of appeals and i was in my office when the telephone rang and they said this is the white house calling is justice o'connor there? i said yes and they said it is the president calling would you put her on? i said this is she. [laughter] hello? and it was ronald reagan and he said sandra, how about that? first name basis. [laughter] i said yes mr. president, he said i would like to announce your nomination
tomorrow for the supreme court, is that okay with you? [laughter] that is quote-unquote what happened. [laughter] and i said yes, mr. president, i think it is. so that's what happened. he had sent three people from the attorney general's office to check on my record for i had served in some capacity in all three branches of the arizona state government in the preceding years and of course, i have left the track record and i think the president had sent people out to uncover the press coverage of anything i was involved with and to look at papers in connection with a record. i guess they had not uncovered anything to looks
scary so he decided to do that. i was at home the day they've wanted to come now to talk to me. my husband and i had built a sun-dried adobe house in the phoenix area 1957. that was a challenge you could buy the other kind but in this country today it is very hard to buy a sun-dried adobe bricks that somebody has made then dried and in a frame in the sun and that is what we've wanted to use. i ate them and in scottsdale to build some houses like that and he could tell us how to get sun-dried adobe so we followed his advice and found a starving young
architect who was willing to designed a house so we got it built and i loved it. it was so fun until you see it and touch it you probably cannot appreciate why i liked it so much but it looks good, it feels good good, and it is wonderful in the arizona sun shine. so that is what we used to build our house. i love did very much. when the president made his call and i agreed to come back to washington d.c., we learned the housing prices are very high. [laughter] sophie had to sell our little adobe house to raise some money to get something in washington d.c.. that was painful. an interesting thing has
happened since. i am wondering from my topic but it is interesting to hear, now in arizona we have formed a program using our old house so it has been purchased back from a nonprofit to support the o'connor house and we use it where civil talks lead to a civic action. i like that because -- [applause] it is what we need a lot more of. congress needs to act and state legislators and when we were living in the house and i was a legislative leader i would cook mexican
food that would stay hot on the stove and by cold be here than i would invite the key people on both sides of the ideal to have them come over to have a bite to eat and baby year. when you sit around and spee casually in a friendly manner like your own friends you just feel better about knowing people and relating to them. in beaver able to make friends that we could solve the state's problems. it worked. that is what i would like to see more of. at present we are using the o'connor house to get legislators together over be ears and chalupas to see if they cannot get acquainted with each other jews solve some of arizona's problems
and in my years at the court before retired i felt we were feeling to teach young people in this country is anything about how our government operates or runs. two-thirds of high school graduates score below proficiency on any kind of civic test only one-third of americans can name the three branches of government. imagine that. only 27 percent can identify the purpose of the u.s. constitution. and it is right there in the title. [laughter] less than one-fifth of high-school seniors can
explain how a citizen participation helps democracy. only 22 percent of eighth graders can name any member of the u.s. supreme court. that is painful for me. [laughter] among 14,000 seniors in college which participated in a survey, the average score on the exam was just barely over 50 percent. this lack of knowledge leads to engagement and a half of the 14 year-old say the political attitude is indifferent or alienated we need to care about that when our constitution was adopted
we did not have public schools in america. that came later and it was 30 years after the constitution was adopted people said we need schools in this country to teach the young people how the government works and how they are a part of its. they were right. that is what started public schools. and today we have public schools that no longer teach civics they no longer require them for graduation. i don't know about you but when i went to school i went to school in el paso taxes i grew up on a ranch it was too far from school so i went to el paso with my maternal grandparents so i
took my schooling there. we had six all the time and i got sick and tired of it. [laughter] but that is a lot better than having nine. so i was very concerned when i announce my retirement about the lack of any nationwide attention of teaching of civics so i decided i could do a little volunteer work and get started with the plan we have the ipad and i everything so i thought icivics would be good and it is. [laughter] but what i did was the most wonderful group of teachers
who really know the subject and what these people should know about civic stand with their help of some experts of writing exams we've put together the icivics web site and so we create games it is i want you to look at it. we have games that young people play and they are fun to play now 19 are up and young people get on and they will stay on all night and tell parents make them go to bet.
teachers find it is very satisfactory but the main problem today is most of the school still listed as the subject to be talked so it makes them harder for the teachers to find time to teach the that is my major effort since stepping down from the court to continue and expand the teaching of icivics so now we have 30,000 young people per day visit is extremely effective there was a study of its in texas to put it in three or four schools year bailor and left it in place and they
came back with a rave review and said it is incredible. so that is my major effort and how i am spending my time as a retired justice except i also said occasionally with some of the federal courts of appeal. they consist of district court of trials of federal cases if and if so the user appeals the coast of federal court of appeals and we have the others scattered around the country and i volunteered to set with these courts of appeal and you're only application in there is the u.s. supreme court
and their jurisdiction is discretionary and sex and not too many cases are granted so that is how the system works today. i volunteered periodically to sit on the federal court of appeals to hear cases for two or three days and today i went to sign to the supreme court and i heard a case argued and it just happened to be a case that i had heard as they volunteered judge when i sat on the ninth circuit and heard the case and we rendered a decision and the losers did not like the results and they filed a petition with the u.s. supreme court which took the case and it was arguing today. so i had the pleasure to sit in the court room to listen to the lawyers argue in the case i participated to
decide so that was fun to do. what we have done tonight and we would try some of them but if not i will abandon those. [laughter] [applause] if. >> and justice i have some questions. >> i do not like to turn my neck. [laughter] >> whenever you say, your honor. [laughter]
>> can you describe you were thinking or feeling when you could walk through the curtain to take your place? >> the first time was pretty scary. the last time we are used to it. but the first time was amazing. and i couldn't believe i was now sitting as a member of the u.s. supreme court. of course, before they never had a woman. and that was a very special event for the court and i think it made a difference. when i go to the court today if, and looked up at the bench, i see three women sitting there. [applause]
there are also six men. [laughter] but the overall effect is better. >> are there any traditions or rituals that go on behind the scenes at the court that you are fond of? >> yes. start with the first. it is a practice at the court when you meet each day to go on the bench or sit and discuss cases, for each justice to shake hands with every other justice and. that is really special. i don't know how you feel but to shake hands with someone, come over hear. [laughter] to shake hands with someone is meaningful. it really is. he touched their hand and it
is much more effective to work together as a court to decide the cases. that was marvelous but on the first day -- comeback. [laughter] one of the justices one. [laughter] his name, he was a former major athletes and he took my hand and i thought i was going to die. honestly. [laughter] t ears. spring atomize -- would spring from i eyes. it he was amazing. a former professional football player and he about killed three. i learned what to do.
give me your hand i would grab his some. [laughter] and i did that for the remaining years that he and i were both on the court. [laughter] the. >> using female judges have a unique perspective and how does that influence? >> guest: i don't think they do really. male or female you have gone to law school and studied law and you have some experience may be as a trial judge your state judge or your law practice you come with experience in men have done the same thing so i don't thank you come in with
a preset attitude that is vastly different from the others. now from the previous stage i naled added domestic relations case with a somewhat different view than a justice who has never been married with children as possible but i don't think that you find a totally different approach. >> should cameras be allowed in the court while cases are argued? >> guest: that question is posed about once a year largely by the media people who are accustomed to covering events and so far
the supreme court has not permitted cameras to come into the supreme court chamber. it probably doesn't matter much as a practical matter because by nighttime every day the cases are heard at the court you could get the full transcript of everything that was said that day in the courtroom by the lawyers and the justices. it is all transcribing and available in writing. it is completely available almost immediately. i don't think the absence of seeing that on a television screen at -- television screen or reading it is that significant. people are accustomed to seeing everything on the television so it is a little
frustrating to think it is and there but the adults think it is a cause for a major concern because of the fact it is there in writing to see what was said. >> host: what advice would you give the young female attorney interested to become a judge? >> guest: first of all, you have to be a pretty good law student. you have to prove and moscow and elsewhere you have established a record to understand and to no legal principles and to write well because as a judge he will have to write opinions and express yourself well. that is important and you want to demonstrate based on books or articles you have written or published that
you have capacity to understand legal issues is very helpful in the selection of the appellate court judge. >> the court had moments of partisanship dated back to the beginning. do you feel back to world war ii that partisanship causes of instability today? >> i don't think it is as bad as it was in earlier times of the nation's history. when you look back in the early days of the country, at thomas jefferson when the john marshall was there, they were second cousins maybe once removed removed, but they were not the kissing kind.
they did not like each other it was unpleasant but yet they had many issues to resolve to affect the nation and it is amazing we got through that we have nothing like that today we have many cases where the justices may end of disagreeing on the bottom line usually there is some division of opinion which is normal but in the air early days of the country there was some real hostility with the justices i am sorry to say. >> host: what is the number one question the other female justices have ask you? >> guest: they have not asked me anything. they just go to work. >> host: what should they ask you?
>> guest: nothing. maybe how the lunchroom works and how they get better lunches. [laughter] that would be the only thing to help them with. >> host: was there any decision made how it was interpreted that you now wish you had voted differently? >> i don't look back that is one thing i have learned in life. dues the very best you can every day if you are required to decide, and make a decision and then don't look back. i don't look back. i am sure i have made plenty of mistakes but i don't need to look back at them. [laughter] i have been there, done that
>> host: based on the state of the current job market what if i switch to give somebody considering a law school? >> guest: i will tell them perhaps immediately not have the job they like because it seems there are more lawyers available and jobs it is tougher now to get a job and it used to me so it may be more challenging choice. i am sure it will even out but it being asked that i would tell them not to rush to get out because they may have a hard time getting a job. >> host:. >> dependent on expertise how do you identify and find
the expertise? i don't have to do that as the judge. i only have to decide based on the evidence presented to the court. in the case said the appellate court to, the evidence has been introduced at the trial court level. and it is a matter of record on that case. if you want to look back at the appellate court judge it is all there in writing. you don't have to fish around and then decided based on what is in the record. >> will any of the stories in this book make it into your icivics curriculum? >> guest: i might have
exploited in already. i don't think so. no. >> wide to the controversial cases come out at the end of the year? >> guest: not all of them but maybe the majority tend to come out at the end of the year because the cases that produce several opinions for and against, as supporting and dissenting, they have considerable writing to produce a dissent or to agree with the majority for a different reason. it takes a long time to right those up -- right goes
up so often the last case is to be handed down for a term are those that produced the most amount of writing because it took more time to put it together. >> host: i have one more question. what do you do to unwind after a stressful day? >> guest: it is not my practice to worry about how to unwind at the end of the day. i like to start my day with some kind of exercise. the very first thing i did the very first day at the supreme court of the united states, i got on the telephone and i called the ywca here in washington d.c. to talk to somebody on the staff and asked if they could find someone who could come to the accord to teach
an exercise class early in the morning. they thought they could find someone. they sent a young woman and she stayed with us for a number of years giving an exercise class three days a week and that is what i want i like starting my day with an exercise class it gave me more energy for the rest of the day. it was a great way to start my day. i think the court still enjoys the privilege of having the exercise class early in the morning. >> host: will you stay and signed some books for everyone? >> guest: not everyone there are too many people. but i will stay for as long as i can. okay? all right. it has been nice. thank you.
[applause] spinet we're at the see pat conference in washington d.c. with the former lieutenant governor of new york to put out a book called beating obamacare and she is holding the health care law. >> all 2,572 pages. i read this so you don't have to and beating obamacare is a walk through of the next 18 months. it is not a political book but a guide to help you avoid the land mines of the
consequences and body blows over the next 18 months. >> the first to take effect but those who get coverage from their job are being hit and told we are dropping your coverage or pushing new down to part-time status because the law says they have to offer coverage the one size fits all package which is twice as much as they currently offers of people are losing on the job coverage or full-time job status. >> this was published by gregory but you mention it is not a political book? >> it is not. played to a job is
preventing hospital infections but it says if you are a baby boomer to fly napier doctors now even if your healthy because if you wait until your 65 you could not find a doctor willing to take you on as a new patient >> host: you look at every page rather surprising is? >> guest: the biggest surprise awards bonus points to the off hospitals that spend the least per senior eyes understand they have to spend money but i would not take my dog to the vet that spends the least on animals while i take my mother? we have data to show the lowest spending hospitals have higher mortality rates from heart attacks and ammonia say you don't want to choose the hospital. >> host: what are three
things people should know? >> guest: talk about medical privacy we all confide things to our doctors but now medical information is entered into the electronic database as well as a national database and people on all sides are very concerned you are losing medical privacy. talk to your doctor about keeping two sets of books. number two, be aware if you have a heart condition and you usually see a specialist, don't be bamboozled you don't need to see one any more there is provisions to make a harder to see specialists but keeps seeing them. number three, if you get to the earth -- health insurance bamboozled go for
the cheaper package because some us you are very six -- six the platinum plan will rip you off. >> looking overall to thousand 500 pages of the affordable care act and has played in her book. thank you so much. >> nice to talk with you thank you for talking about a booker -- book
>> host: on your screen is american university professor and also director of american university washington institute for public and international affairs and he has written this book, how to succeed in college while realty trying. who was a booker in for? >> guest: it is written for two groups of students, high school seniors of their way to college and also first-year students who come to the place to find it foreign and also written for the parents as well. >> host: so when you are cast as a college professor professor, what will make my son or daughter successful successful, what is your short answer? >> guest: independence and responsibility and that is what parents may not want to hear because that means they have to pull back so it is a
chance for them to take responsibility for their lives that is the most important. >> host: what is your responsibility as a college professor? >> my job is to counsel them something that people are not quite ready for we are not here to hold their hand. we want a friendly environment and want them to consider new ideas but my job is to give them new ideas but challenge them to think in new ways. >> host: when you meet students can you now predict who will be successful and who want? >> no. not have first because they are pleasant most will be successful. that is the good news but it
is almost impossible to predict. >> host: what are some of the downfalls of the first year of college? >> there are a lot of distractions. that is the biggest downfall of not paying attention what they need to do. not going to class, not getting assignments done, not studying. to make sure they have the best opportunities. >> host: what is the most common question? what they ought to be doing is in class on a regular basis engaging with the material if they are there if it is part of the dialogue failed no blood is on the test. >> host: has personal technology changed? >> yes.
probably for the better but me before the words that we have to compete with these other students' attention they have their cell phones, the smart phones there are other things they could do and we need to compete with that but we can use technology to bring the outside world into the classroom we have these great monitors to give them a test of the classroom with what is happening in the real world. >> is it important to give letter grades? >> guest: 42? i don't know if it is that important. i don't find it to be as useful as others might but students want them because
that is what they're used to and they have been competing for that and they think that is what employers want but i think we get more out of me writing evaluations talking about a strength and weaknesses and like a letter of recommendation verses a letter grade. >> host: to find a difference those taking out student loans are those who have parents pay for it? >> guest: i do find a difference between those who work and those who don't. this is their money if they do take up the loan it will be eventually but it is in the future but those who are working poor in the sweat equity and they are generally more serious students signed into more in the classroom.
>> host: you have a subchapter the liberal ivory tower could the conservative student could take conservative student be successful at harvard or the american university? >> absolutely. that justice bills the myth. these are not bastions of liberalism. what we are after here, i do my job but any student will have his pre-existing views challenged whether a liberal or conservative. there will we challenged to think what they believed in and leave with their own view of the world if i do my job that is what is happening and that ought to be exciting and frightening
no matter a the political perspective because we want them to be critical consumers of information. >> host: the you say college professors could be more liberal than society. >> guest: also it is not about being a college professor but people who have more education those of ph.d. tend to be more liberal most of us who are college professors have decided money is not the most important thing because you do other things but that said whenever ideologies if we are doing our jobs our students don't know that the best compliment i ever got
was one who had no idea until she babysat my kids is on the bumper sticker on my wife's car because what a good professor does is take his or her background out of the conversation. it isn't about us and our job is to challenge them. >> host: does 10 your help students? >> i hope -- to think it helps the faculty to be successful with that day of the question what does tenure get? freedom of inquiry to look at we think is important without worrying about somebody looking over our shoulder to say that is the unpopular idea if we are worried about that and we would not understand gravity or the world is spherical but that is what tenure gets
us or faculty to do a full inquiry to grow the knowledge and science because students could participate in the research projects so if i want my money's worth i am in favor of that. >> host: would you teach? >> i teach criminal law also at the school of public affairs that they teach law society. >> host: was part due to right this? >> i've been teaching over 20 years and i was beginning to see the same problems over and over like not knowing how to cite material getting themselves in trouble in denver in may but see a great new world that
is college to take advantage of the classroom and i raggedy male students i began to use see i was sending the same e-mail's out year after year and it is time to write the book now i can say by the book. >> host: what is the best thing parents can do? >> one is academic side one is reading and writing it is as true today as in the olden days but the other thing parents can do is to get students ready to live lives on their own be here so much about helicopter parents they need to get their students ready this is as simple as had to do
laundry but it is my to the point* had to get yourself up each day and get to class? eddie balances social life and academic life those are life skills those other things that parents should have their kids ready for. >> host: river and talking to professor gould about how to succeed in college thank you for talking to us. >> my pleasure
>> your at the see pat, france tel us about the first tenure from a politician from illinois. >> we know about him as a president but this is the missing piece of the puzzle his only national experience before becoming president many issues going on the country dealing with the mexican-american war, slavery and what to do as a result and this is the formative experience almost as a single issue politician >> host: how well was abraham lincoln known?
>> totally unknown he could have been anonymous any street corner just one of many new faces. >> host: representing the whig party? >> correct. >> host: talk about the legislative processes. >> guest: because we associate him with the civil war we forget he had other issues so he tried to build infrastructure roads and bridges and canals and a member to work hard to explain and mail delivery to pass a major postal initiative he worked hard bet played a role of national issues also part of zachary taylor for president
that was lincoln's best friend. >> host: what was his foray into national politics? >> as a member of the illinois legislature which was heavily democratic you were not going to be governor or senator there was one seats the seventh district was your only hope he ran and lost a big payback for years later successfully and gets incredible experience and president poehl is the only first president he could watch on the job before he becomes president. >> host: was the political landscape? >> nobody would believe this but it was paralyzed along the lines with the issues dividing people wondering if the government was up to task this may sound unfamiliar now but we did
was a member of the first congress to have a vote to shut down the government with the appropriations bill and slavery was tied into it rather than expand millions of new acres. >> host: is it considered successful? >> i disagree i think he paid attention to his constituents but also a hand of national issues or the postal initiative i think he was a good congressman and. >> was there a notice of his aspirations? >> no. it is interesting they thought he was smart and hysterical and the skills on display i'm not sure anyone tapped him as a future
president but and i think anybody was different for the first chapter is called the most ambitious man in the world but for his colleagues at a note they would make to president 12 years later. >> the author of congressmen and lincoln thank you. >> many say how do we adapt or go forward but they're taking in stride because that is how we grow up all so with ease and adaptability a bright millenials ability to be resilient with the economic crisis which has led to incredible use unemployment and debt and people optimistic about the octave -- feature because it could be totally different in one year because we saw how was started and how it might go
away so the grass is greener on the other side in reno we will get there. . . we started this project 14 years ago and it was very exciting